Study Guide

Year of Wonders Suffering

By Geraldine Brooks

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In Year of Wonders, we visit Eyam, a small English village in the midst of a full-on assault by the Black Plague, and it's some nasty business. The villagers have been convinced by a local pastor to stay in town and accept God's will, but they are entirely unprepared for the horrors that await them. Every family is touched by death. Every survivor deals with grief and madness. Although everyone we meet experiences immense suffering over the course of the novel, reactions to it vary wildly.

Questions About Suffering

  1. How are Mompellion's and Anna's reactions to suffering different?
  2. Is Mompellion accurate when he praises the benefits of suffering? Why or why not?
  3. How does psychological suffering differ from physical suffering in the novel?
  4. Does the suffering of Aphra and Josiah make them more sympathetic? Explain.

Chew on This

While Mompellion is emotionally broken by suffering, Anna only becomes stronger because of it.

Mompellion is right to praise the benefits of suffering: Anna's personal growth is evidence enough.

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